6-15-10 June 15 Update

JUNE 15 2010 UPDATE

 

SPY FUND RAISING

There were a few responses to SPY’s memo of April 24, announcing that, having spent $400,000 on SPY, there was a need for outside fund raising.  Beyond the World Series, expenses have been allocated for four additional tournaments in 2010.  For the first time in 14 years, SPY will not attend Boulder’s Independence Day Tournament, nor Canada Cup, Champions Cup, or any of the ASA national tournaments.  Covering NCAA Division I is SPY’s biggest expense this year but all of the donations have come from parents, travel ball or professional sources, none from college sources.  C’est la vie.  The donations are not appearance fees, and do not decide which tournaments to cover.  The donations are in lieu of subscriptions to SPY magazine, which was intended to be the vehicle for the many photographic essays, special stories, etc., which instead have appeared for free in SPY’s two web sites.  While undercutting our subscription plans, we found PayPal very difficult to deal with, but, more, many young people read SPY and we did not want to tax them with subscriptions.  Instead, we are trying to rely on donations.  Our home page has a link for donations.

 

JUNIOR WOMEN’S TEAM PHOTOS
114 photos of athletes competing at the Selection Camp are on SPY’s Picasa site.  The photos were taken by Dennis Andersen, ActionSportsPhoto.  Click on “photos” on SPY’s home page.

COLLEGE WORLD SERIES PHOTOS
For the last half-dozen years, SPY has enjoyed a successful, professional collaboration with Dennis Andersen, ActionSportsPhotos.  Together, we have covered many major events, including the Beijing Olympics.  Dennis is off to the mountains of Panama, a photographic adventure on which we wish him all success.  We are grateful for his splendid work.

SPY has just published six volumes of Dennis’ photos from  the 2010 Women’s College World Series.  Excellent photos as usual.  On SPY’s home page, click on “Photos.”

 

TEAM USA PREPARES FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

BY Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

ASHLAND — Before they see the “world,” the USA Softball Women’s National Team is setting its sights on little ol’ Ashland — again.The national squad has made several pilgrimages over the years to Brookside Park, including visits  before leaving for the 1996, 2000 and 2008  Olympic Games.This week, the team is using Brookside’s venerable  facility as a training ground for the International Softball Federation XXI Women’s Championships June 23 to July 2 in Caracas, Venezuela.

The U.S. women, led by Olympic champions Jennie Finch, Jessica Mendoza, Cat Osterman and Natasha Watley, will play the USA Women’s Futures Team in an exhibition doubleheader Thursday at 7 p.m at Brookside.They will be coming off an identical twinbill the night before in Canton’s Thurman Munson Stadium. Those exhibitions will be the only opportunities to see the two national teams in the United States with the exception of the KFC World Cup presented by
Six Flags, July 22 to 26, in Oklahoma City, Okla.

“This is the biggest event to come to Ashland,” said Warren Jones, the Ohio commissioner for the Amateur Softball Association and an Ashland resident. “Since losing the state high school
tournament (in 2008), it’s been the biggest revenue-producer in the city.”We’ve got fans coming in from California, Maine  and Georgia — from all over the country.”

In addition to Finch, the face of women’s softball  with the cover-girl looks, the USA team includes 13 other members of the squad that captured the Canada Cup and World Cup of Softball gold medals in 2009.Mendoza, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 2008 silver medalist, makes her return to USA Softball this summer after taking a year off for the birth of her child.

“I’m looking forward to some solid training days before we head to the World Championships,”
pitcher Monica Abbott said. “It’s our biggest tournament … now that the Olympics are out. We’re
fortunate to have the Futures team help us prepare for Venezuela. It will be a unique event for people to see some great softball.”

Several members of the Futures team are fresh off Final Four appearances in the NCAA Women’s  College World Series, including Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler, Brittany Lastrapes and Lauren Schutzler, Tennessee’s Raven Chavanne and 2010 World Series MVP Megan Langenfeld of UCLA.

Although softball lost its Olympic status after the 2008 Games, Jones doesn’t think the game, at its highest level, has lost its national appeal.”It’s still big,” said Jones, who is also vice-president
of the Eastern territory for ASA. “What we want to do is get the national team out in the communities and  make the players more accessible to people.” Players from both national teams will sign autographs after the doubleheaders. Hillsdale High School’s state championship team will be honored between games in Ashland.”We’ve got to keep the game in front of the people,”
Jones said. “It’s still huge; it’s still growing. We’ve got a crew of people diligently trying to get the game back in the Olympics and mend some fences.”  (SPY: Does Jones know there is no real probability of softball being back on the Olympic schedule before 2020?)

 

VENEZUELA

 

The following story broke on Monday; part of a series of continuing negative focus on Venezuela by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Economist:

CARACAS (Dow Jones)–The U.S. State Department said it disapproves of an arrest warrant issued by President Hugo Chavez’s government for the owner of Venezuela’s last remaining television station that is critical of his regime. “This is the latest example of the government of Venezuela’s continuing assault on the freedom of the press,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Monday. He added that the U.S. asks the Venezuelan government “to uphold the principle that respect for human rights, including freedom of the press, is essential to representative democracies.” Various groups have also come out in protest of the Venezuelan warrant for the arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, suggesting the station was being unfairly targeted because of its frequent opposition to Chavez. “If the government is using Zuloaga’s prosecution as a pretext to silence and intimidate the only remaining critical broadcaster, the rights of citizens to be informed will be seriously restricted and Venezuela’s democracy will suffer yet another blow,” the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday on its website.

 

 

LONG LIVE THE BIG 12 (er, 10)

The Big 12 Conference received a lifeline Monday night as power member University of Texas announced it will remain in the conference, spurning a lucrative offer to move to the Pac-10.

The league, which seemed on the verge of dissolving after Nebraska and Colorado left last week and the Pac-10 began hovering to take Texas and four more schools, will now exist with 10 members and an apparently rich television deal. It was made possible after UT declined an invitation it received over the weekend to join the Pac-10.  And now that Texas has agreed to stay aboard, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and even Texas A&M are ready to follow. The Aggies had been holding out on plans to either head to the Pac-10 with the others or remain in the Big 12 because of overtures from the SEC. But apparently, Texas A&M has decided to remain with rival Texas in the new-look Big 12.  (SPY assumes there will be some realignment; there are four teams in the South division; six in the North).

 

WCWS STATISTICS

Final statistics from the 2010 Women’s College World Series, compiled by Mike Houck and the communications staff, have been published on:  www.spysoftball.org.

 

NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH

SPY has added a link on its home page to NPF, so that readers can check the schedules for the four teams.  Check each team separately; we could not find a master schedule.

We are encouraged that NPF, down to just four teams (six teams have folded) is scheduling games against non-league opponents in other than their host cities – which meets the vital necessity of broadening the exposure of teams and players.  We were encouraged by the turnout, evidence on ESPN, at the Bandits-Pride series in Lubbock.  For example, the remaining Bandits schedule for June:

06/17/2010 07:00 PM @Rockford Riverhawks Rockford Riverhawks Stadium  
06/19/2010 07:00 PM @Virginia Renegades Salem Virgina  
06/20/2010 05:05 PM Akron Racers Judson University  
06/21/2010 07:05 PM Akron Racers Judson University  
06/22/2010 01:05 PM Akron Racers Judson University  
06/24/2010 12:00 PM @Akron Racers Akron, OH  
06/25/2010 12:00 PM @Akron Racers Akron, OH  
06/26/2010 12:00 PM @Akron Racers Akron, OH  
06/27/2010 12:00 PM @Akron Racers Akron, OH  

 

PRIDE LOSES TO CANADA

USSSA Florida Pride Falls to the Canadian National Team in the Exhibition Series Opener

The Pride concluded the game with nine runs against Canada’s thirteen.

Orlando, Fla. – The last time the USSSA Florida Pride stepped onto the field for an exhibition series, they swept the Venezuela National Team in a five game series held at the UCF Softball Field, beginning June 31 and going through the weekend of June 3-6. With a fourteen strike-out game pitched by Cat Osterman, and two home-runs by Stephanie Best, the second of which was a grand slam, the Pride proved their prowess on an international level.

Today, they set out to do that again, taking on the Canadian National team for the first contest of a three game series held at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. A valiant effort was made, and the game remained close throughout, with a score tied at 5-5 at the top of the seventh inning. However, the visiting team rallied for the win and the game concluded with the Pride at nine runs, and Team Canada with 13.

Starting in the circle for the Pride was Sarah Pauly, coming into the series with a 0.00 exhibition ERA and a 4.50 ERA for the regular season. Opposite her in the circle, starting for Canada was Jenna Caira.

Canada started their run for the win early, when Jennifer Yee made it to base on an error from Pauly. She was followed at the plate by Sheena Lawrick, whose subsequent double drove her home, scoring the first run for Canada. A third strikeout from Pauly on Jennifer Salling ended the inning with Canada taking the first lead.

Canada continued their early lead in the top of the third when they saw two more runners advance to the plate. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Yee advanced to scoring position on second off of a single from Lawrick. Salling came to the plate next, and advanced to first on a ball, leaving the bases loaded when Kaleigh Rafter stepped up to bat. A pass ball drove Yee home and advanced both Lawrick and Salling, giving Canada multiple scoring opportunities in the middle of the inning. A wild pitch allowed Lawrick to score the second run of the inning, advancing Salling to third and Rafter to first, but a strikeout from Jillian Russell left the pair stranded at the close of the third

The top of the fourth saw the fourth run scored for the visiting team from Corrine Doornberg, pinch running for Erin Cumpster, on an RBI single from Yee.

The Pride rallied in the bottom of the fifth, tying up the score at 4-4 at the close of the inning. Rookie Francesca Enea, in her first game with the Pride and second inning at bat, was hit by a pitch to make it on base. After a ground-out to second from Jessica Williams, Melissa Roth became the second in the Pride line-up to make it on base after being hit by relief pitcher Ashley Lanz. A pass ball followed by a wild pitch during right fielder Kelly Kretschman’s at-bat brought Enea home and her subsequent RBI double drew another run for the Pride from Roth. A double from Stephanie Best, pinch hitting for Tonya Callahan, drove in a run from Kretschman, and a subsequent ground rule double from Amber Flores allowed Best to score the fourth run.

Each team scored a run each in the sixth inning, from Cumpster on the visiting line-up and Roth of the Pride, with the score remaining tied at the top of the seventh.  It was the Canadian National team however, that stole away with the lead in the top of the seventh. Eight runs off of eight hits, including a two RBI double from Yee, allowed the visiting team to securely plant themselves in a winning position. Three strike-outs off of relief pitcher Desiree Serrano, who allowed four of the eight hits, concluded the inning.

The Pride made a strong come-back effort in the bottom of the seventh, scoring four runs off of three hits, including a two RBI triple from Roth. A subsequent single from Schnake drove Roth home, and after a walk Kretschman, and an RBI single from Callahan, the Pride looked poised to score again, with runners in the corners when Amber Flores took to the plate. A ground ball to the pitcher left the runners stranded however and concluded the game, with the victory going to the visiting team.

The USSSA Florida Pride will take to the field against the Canadian National team once again tomorrow night at 7:05 pm at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

The USSSA Florida Pride joined the NPF as a franchise Team in November of 2009, operated by Florida Pride LLC. USSSA managed the Pride Team during 2009, culminating their inaugural season with a second place finish in the Championship Series. USSSA Florida Pride is sponsored by USSSA, the world’s largest amateur sports association, and is headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida.

National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The League, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).

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